Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Im back.....

 Well Im back from my travels, this time to the South of the USA to enjoy the Americana in Nashville and then down to New Orleans. I wont bore readers with tales of Nashville and contemporary music, but God it was a hard week in very high temperatures but wonderful music. What a place, but you need stamina and the ability to handle the drink... I managed somehow.
 New Orleans was meant to be a more restful break but somehow was the opposite,not helped by overly high temperatures of 105f! every day. Anyway I loved the place. I am fascinated by the deep south and enjoy just chatting to locals in the bars and eateries, they remind me of my childhood in that they are polite, funny and ready to chat all day, and of course drink. The city is a great mix of new and for America, the old. I was intrigued by the Plantations and their history, the bayous and the Cajun folk. The city suffered during the Union occupation and was harshly treated by Nathaniel Banks and his men. Still there is always two sides to a story. 
 New Orleans after their terrible troubles is slowly being re built. One place they are pushing is their wonderful WW2 museum. The place is immense and is already undergoing a further 300 million dollar expansion. Yes the museum is US biased but why not. It is really well presented and very interactive. One starts the visit in a vintage rail carriage used to transport the new recruits to their training camps and leads from their to separate exhibits that contain recorded and filmed anecdotes from their soldiers, sailors and airmen and also the people left at home including the workers etc. This was a terrific way to convey the feelings of the people. They didnt gloss over any politically difficult facts such as the pro German movement of the USA which could have forced an isolationist policy but for Pearl Harbour. It also covered the invasion of China and the US involvement prior to 1941.
 There was a detailed section on the treatment of the Japanese citizens and internment and also the treatment of the Black soldiers who were drafted. I was very impressed by the attempt to report the truth and bugger any 'safe' sensibilities.
 I tool loads of images but most were pretty naff. The D Day section was fascinating and the eye witness accounts very poignant.

 The war in the pacific was especially interesting with detailed accounts of the main battles including Midway which was really well covered with accounts from sailors from both sides of the battle.

 Yes an enigma box, with an explanation how Polish soldiers were able to help with the decoding of the system. The Poles apparently had broken part of the codes prior to the collapse of their country and were able to accelerate the decoding.
 So Im back, struggling with jet lag and a heavy cold? But ready to pick up the brushes and crack on.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

An Update.

 Just a post before I take a short sabbatical to show that I am grinding my way through the units required for next years event in Glasgow. I have decided to paint up movement trays for the figures which should make things more manageable during what could be a confusing weekend. Having over 80 players is a tall order as wargamers remind me of herding cats especially when there will be so much eye candy on show at one time..
 These are a mixture of Perry, Victrix and Warlord miniatures. The Perry and Warlord seem to mix okay whereas Victrix are slightly bigger but the company do provide some interesting alternative figures..

 One of the organisers pointed out that they were short? of a number of Imperial Garde artillery pieces.Now I have a soft spot for the Garde artillery and jumped at the chance to buy and paint up a couple of batteries. This is the first piece completed. The figures are Warlord and were very nice to paint. Great figures.

 Stu from Colonel Bill's and I go back a long way. We were aspiring detectives together. When he retired he amazingly started a very successful business,me I am opted to drift in a sea of ennui.
  I tapped him for sponsorship for the Waterloo game and as ever Stu thought a big breasted viviandre was appropriate. She was a lovely figure and seems to be anatomically correct, although I was unable to paint 'sponsored by Colonel Bill' on the back of her jacket. She will be part of a small diorama I am painting for the weekend next year.
 Finally I thought I should show that I haven't forgotten my aim this year, which is to paint up two ECW armies using the lovely Hinchliffe ranges. Basically a self indulgent reason to wallow in nostalgia.These chaps are Rupert's Foot regiment using a buff experiment suggested by John, as usual he was right.
 So there you have it for a short while. I will be unavailable for a couple of weeks and hope to be able to regale followers with the stories of my adventures.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

General Duhesme.

 I decided to have a quick review of the Young Garde contingent I am painting for the Great Game in Glasgow next June.I feel I am making some progress and I am finally getting into the swing of things.
 To relieve the monotony of painting blue figures I painted up my brigadier base of General Duhesme. In real life he was wounded and died on the battlefield at Waterloo apparently finally expiring in Blucher's command tent.From my research he was clearly a very brave die hard republican notorious for his pillaging. Still the Emperor gave him command of the Tirrailleurs of the Garde so he must have had some redeeming features. Given my record with generals no doubt he will die again next year.

 Eventually each battalion with have a company of skirmishers. All the units will have movement trays and their respective causality marker.
                                                 I have painted 11 of these so only one to go.

Border Reivers Show 2018.

                      Well yesterday I attended the Border Reivers show at Gateshead Stadium.

  There was the usual suspects in attendance and John from the Westerhope group had been allowed out on day release from Frankland Prison to host his groups game.

   As shows go it was okay. I use it to attempt to off load some of the stuff that wargamers accrue over the months and years. Anyone attending a North East England show should understand that a table top sale means exactly that because we as a collective group tend to ignore anything that is being sold unless it is virtually being given away. I did make a few quid but also did actually give a few items away for nothing. Amongst the recipients of my largess it has become a tradition with me to donate something to the Westerhope group for free given as they always claim they are poor.
 Somehow I don't actually believe that is true but they got a nice book about Knights to add to their collection.
There was a lot of traders at the event although Dave Thomas was noticeable by his absence. Whilst browsing Colin Worleys book stall I had a discussion with him about the price of a decent copy of Commandant Lachouque's 'Anatomy of Glory.' Colin was selling this for the princely sum of five pounds!
 I remember as a teenager scraping the cash together to buy a copy over a number of months and being excited when I was finally allowed to take my copy home. It was quite depressing to see how cheap the book is nowadays.
  The show is situated in a decent hall although the lighting can be a problem. Yesterday it was also very hot in the hall, a bit unusual for September in the North East.
 Parking is free and the canteen sells decent food at a fair price.
Games wise again it was okay. I liked Stuart Hitchinson's pirate game especially as Stuart displayed some of his quality terrain.He makes some lovely pieces.

The lads from Westerhope were showing off their Napoleonic armies using their universal wargames rule set. The group literally have a set they created for all periods adding extra factors and the like dependent on the period they are playing. They claim it allows them to play a fun game historically. We had a discussion about their concept which ended in a draw. I like any wargames rules that give a fun game with a level of historical feel but enjoy using the commercial rules on offer, the lads enjoy their rules. Personally I think its because they dont want to spend money on commercial rules, but I could be wrong. But they work so fair play.

Amongst the groups armies was a sub commander painted by Mark Allen which was a lovely piece. I was assured they had bought the figures, but I have my doubts.
            Big Brian laughs as John is dragged out by security for refusing to pay for the teas.

I particularly liked an ancient naval game which used hand built ships. The ships were constructed from coffee stirrers.Very effective.
The show overall was busy until the witching hour of one, when it began to thin out. As shows go it filled in a few hours looking at toys and enjoying the crack. So whats not to like.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Early Renaissance battle.

 Well today's battle with John was a very tense affair between the French and the Spanish somewhere in deepest Sicily. We were using the Blackpowder Pike and Shot rules which allow a fun? game. John had expressed a wish to lead the French so I thought I would give my Spanish colunellas an outing. Well two of them anyway. The Colunellas consist of three units. Sword and buckler men, arquebusiers and quality pike. I opted for a lot of Italian light cavalry backed up by some Italian and Spanish heavy horse. I also chose a large sub command of mercenary landsnects       [ more of them later]

 The French in the early Italian Wars are very good, so in an effort to balance things I 'only' allowed John two Swiss pike blocks with sub units of crossbowmen. I attempted to make it more interesting by saddling him with three blocks of French pike and their supports. Naturally the French had their dreaded gendarmes and mounted archers with stradiots to do their dirty work.

 The French won the right to move first which was a blow as John had stacked his Swiss and cavalry on one wing facing just my Italian light cavalry and some heavy but indifferent Italian counterparts. Luckily whilst his cavalry advanced the Swiss failed to move which allowed me to move my Colunellas towards the main threat.

 The pesky Swiss, with bears attached were slow to move but were to make up for their indifference as the game progressed....
 Things began to unravel after several moves of the Spanish being able to manouvre into what I thought seemed like a good position facing the Swiss. There is no such thing as a good position when facing Swiss pike.
The French pike and crossbowmen that in theory should have been pretty useless. Somehow John was able to march them from his left flank where they had faced my best cavalry and the mercenary landsnects and into the centre to 'help' the Swiss. My best cavalry simply watched whilst the mercenary pike had a picnic.

A David and Goliath struggle, Spanish 'heavy cavalry' charging French gendarmes. Not the best idea although they did cause sufficient causalities before they disappeared off the table.
                                Of course the French can always call on more of the same.
 When in doubt, charge. My Spanish knights led by their commander attempted to halt the advance of the French centre by charging their pike. They nearly succeed against all the odds, but somehow the French pike held on. I think it was the double dice against cavalry that just might have swayed it. At least the Spanish commander survived.                                                                                                                                         

And then the Swiss charged.......
 Using Pike and Shot rules the Swiss quite rightly have an ability called 'ferocious charge' which allows any missed hits to be re rolled. My colunellas were shredded in two moves whilst the Swiss simply dusted themselves off..

 My only victory. I managed to get a unit of Italian mercenary mounted arqubusiers to shoot up a French heavy gun.
                                The Spanish camp followers decided to leave the field.
 For some odd reason the mercenaries were very reluctant to move during the battle and allowed the French infantry to march away. When they finally decided to take part the battle was already lost. So they simply marched away untouched!
 Did I lose? Obviously. Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. To be honest there was times when the French were under pressure, but when they have the best infantry in Europe they can always expect to at least grab a draw, or in my case a great victory.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating